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Comment: Condition: Very good condition., Binding: Paperback / Publisher: Prion / Pub. Date: 2004-09-01 Attributes: Book, 256 pp / Stock#: 2064991 (FBA) * * *This item qualifies for FREE SHIPPING and Amazon Prime programs! * * *
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Sex Lives of the Popes Paperback – September 1, 2004

3.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Prion’s internationally best–selling Sex Lives series presents lighthearted accounts of the sexual escapades of major figures in history, politics, religion, the arts, and the Silver Screen. Irreverent and gossipy, the books are packed with carnal tidbits and eye–opening revelations.
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Product Details

  • Series: Sex Lives
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Prion; 2nd edition (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185375546X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853755460
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,767,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. N. W. Bos on December 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book emphasizes on the attitude of the popes towards the sex lives of their priests. Many popes were concerned with the celibacy of their priests and forbade marriage for priests. However, they used to sell them licenses for keeping mistresses. Usually, they were prepared to tolerate priests who kept incestuous relations with female relatives or raped women in the church. "When a woman fainted during confession and the priest seized the opportunity to rape her, the Inquisition found that this, technically, was not a case of soliciting." The pope's only concern was that priests would defile the sacrament when handling it afterwards.
The passages about the sex lives of the popes themselves are mainly based on hearsay. Cawthorne accuses several popes of incest with either their sisters or bastard daughters, like pope Alexander VI Borgia, who retired with his daughter to "an interior room and remained locked up together for more than an hour". In secret she gave birth to a baby that was hidden, but that doesn't prove that her father was the father. Many other popes seem to have had preferences for young boys, prostitutes or sex-and-food orgies in general.
Despite many unproven accusations, the book clearly shows that many popes were mainly concerned with their own pleasures and did not give a damn about Christian values. Anyway, the book is good reading stuff.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nigel Cawthorne (born 1951) is an American writer of many books such as Sex Lives of the Roman Emperors, Sordid Sex Lives, Sex Lives of the Great Composers, Sex Lives of the Rich and Famous, etc.

He wrote in the Introduction to this 1996 book, "Evan in an age when priestly misdemeanors regularly hit the headlines, it would be hard to imagine Pope John Paul II being ministered to by a mother superior, while the college of cardinals looked on. However, such a spectacle would not be without historic precedent. Plenty of previous popes have got up to all kinds of mischief. Many have been married. More, while making a show of celibacy, had installed their mistresses in the Vatican and promoted their illegitimate sons... to high office. There have been gay popes who have made their catamites cardinals. There have been grossly promiscuous popes of both persuasions. Orgies were not unknown in the papal palaces. One pope ran a brother out of the Lateran Palace." (Pg. 1) He adds, "The Catholic Church has gone to great lengths to hush this sort of thing up... With the wealth, power and position the papacy brought, it is not really surprising that popes regularly found a balm to the cares of the world in the arms of their lovers..." (Pg. 2) He further adds, "The history of the Christian Church... is not nearly as staid as it makes out.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fascinating read! It whets the appetite to read more about the individual lives of these popes. To gain some perspective, I would recommend reading wider, exploring the papacy deeper. This is an appetizer but definitely not the main course.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book as a joke present for a friend of mine. They already knew about this subject, so I read it. I was not surprised by what I read as I have studied history and religion. This is an excellent book to start out learning the history of hypocrisy of religious leaders. Another excellent book to read is 'The Borgias and their enemies' by Hibbert, Christopher. Please note, I am not an angry atheist, agnostic, or former Roman Catholic. I have friends who are Roman Catholic, and even they do not like certain things about the RC church.
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By dave1 on December 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mr. Cawthorne wrote an excellent book that is well worth reading. It seems almost never-ending; this pope was the son of that pope, this pope poisoned that pope, this pope had incest with his daughter and illegitimate children, this pope had a wife and a concubine, some popes with the worst records were made saints, etc., etc. You can't make all this stuff up! The only thing I would have liked to have seen was footnotes referencing his sources or a bibliography.
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Format: Paperback
This book contains everything you ever really wanted to know about the sex lives of the popes and anti popes. (Apparently there were anti popes in Rome as well as in Avignon.) The book is interesting and even humorous, but not a serious work of history. Easy reading. It's also a good review of which pope was which and what sort of people they were personally.
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Format: Paperback
I received this book as a Christmas present and just recently finished reading it. Overall, I thought it was a wonderful read. I've read quite a few salacious history books, but not any on popes until now. Overall, I agree with the latest reviewer, that a lot of it is speculation, hearsay or gossip, but on the other hand, that's also one of its best features.

It does have a slow start, starting with the foundations of Christendom and sex and stewards of the early Church, but once it gets into the medieval and Renaissance periods, things really kick into high gear. There are some popes that are definitely given a bit of extra weighting compared to others, so it does make for a somewhat imbalanced read once you get about three-quarters of the way through. (You'll wonder - "Why am I still reading about Alexander VI, six pages later? In the third chapter, there were at least 30 popes!")

Overall, I thought it was enjoyable, but probably not very factual. If you like gossipy, salacious history of figures of power, (or popes at least), then I definitely recommend this book. If you're extremely picky about rumors or gossip and want 'just the facts', then you'll probably be wanting to look elsewhere.
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